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Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison has died aged 88

The author was best known for her acclaimed novel Beloved.

Author Toni Morrison who passed away yesterday.
Author Toni Morrison who passed away yesterday.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

ACCLAIMED AMERICAN AUTHOR Toni Morrison has died aged 88 on Monday night, according to publisher Alfred Knopf. 

Knopf says Morrison died at Montefiore Medical Centre in New York last night, according to Associated Press. 

Morrison’s family issued a statement through Knopf saying she died after a brief illness.

“Toni Morrison passed away peacefully last night surrounded by family and friends,” the family announced.

“She was an extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt who reveled in being with her family and friends. The consummate writer who treasured the written word, whether her own, her students or others, she read voraciously and was most at home when writing.”

Morrison was the first African-American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. 

The author was known for her best-selling novel Beloved which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The book is inspired by a story of a woman who escaped slavery in 1856 and fled to Ohio. 

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former US President Barack Obama in 2012. This is one of the highest civilian awards in the US. 

Morrison released her first book, The Bluest Eye, when she was nearly 40. She had written six novels by her early 60s. 

She was praised in 1993 by the Swedish academy for her “visionary force” and for delving into “language itself, a language she wants to liberate” from categories of black and white.

Tributes have been paid to the novelist on Twitter by members of the publishing industry. 

- With reporting from Associated Press. 

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